Coronary artery disease or CAD is the primary reason for death in the United States for both men and women. Coronary artery disease is a disease of the arteries of the heart which carry the precious and life giving blood to every part of our body.
When these arteries become diseased, the walls of the artery thicken which causes narrowing of the blood vessel. This is turn causes a cascade effect of problems like high blood pressure, clot formation, and blockage in the artery when the thickening in the artery called plaque builds up causing atherosclerosis.
Any blockage or reduction in the diameter of the blood vessel creates a reduction in the supply of oxygen to the heart and the body. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, angina or chest pain occurs, leading to heart attack and ultimately heart failure if corrective measures are not implemented immediately.
Causes and Risk Factors
- High blood pressure causes the heart to pump harder and can over work the heart.
- High cholesterol can cause the fatty lipids to stick to the artery walls forming plaque which can narrow the blood vessels and also cause blockage due to dislodgement of a plaque.
- Smoking can cause narrowing of the blood vessels and the chemicals in the smoke will irritate and destroy the walls of the arteries.
- Diabetes along with high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to heart attacks as the blood becomes sticky and viscous due to the high glucose and fatty content of the blood.
- Unhealthy food choices and a sedentary lifestyle are detrimental for the health of the heart.
- Stress increases the bad hormones in the body which affects the heart negatively.
- Family history is an important risk factor of heart disease such as hypercholesterolemia. Having close relatives in the family with heart disease greatly increases the odds of having a heart attack in other members of the family.
- Age: People over the age of sixty years have more chances of having a heart attack.
- Sex: Men are known to have heart disease at least ten years earlier than women.
- Obesity leads to hypertension and diabetes which is not good news for the heart.
- Race: African Indians, African Americans, Hawaiians, some Asian Americans and Mexican Americans are predisposed to having heart problems.
The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person and from men to women. Here are a few of the common symptoms that you may feel which are warning signs that you may be having a heart attack.
- Angina or chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Shoulder pain
Exercise and a healthy lifestyle can slow or even prevent heart disease. A diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber, vegetables and fruits is a heart healthy diet. If you are a smoker, then there are smoking cessation programs available to support you if you decide to quit smoking. Controlling hypertension and high cholesterol through medications, diet and exercise is another preventative measure.
Coronary artery disease can lead to a heart attack without warning and if not treated immediately can result in heart failure and death of the person. It is imperative that the heart receive oxygen as soon as possible to prevent permanent heart muscle damage.
Any individual can jump in and save the life of a person undergoing a cardiac emergency if he or she has the right training in basic life saving techniques. Getting trained in the right course and certification can go a long way in saving a life as an emergency can happen without warning anywhere at a private or public place.
Heartsaver CPR and AED course is a very helpful course which trains individuals in administering CPR or mouth to mouth resuscitation to victims who have collapsed and stopped breathing. It also offers training in applying the Automatic External Defibrillator or AED to administer shocks to the victim’s chest to help start the heart again.
The same course is also offered as Heartsaver First Aid, CPR and AED which offers a comprehensive training on basics of first aid as well.
Basic Life Support (BLS) course is primarily for healthcare professionals which is a mandatory requirement by the organizations which employ them. This course offers training to individuals in administering CPR and AED in victims of cardiac arrest.
The good news for people who want to receive any of these lifesaving courses is that you can get the training online. Many websites like healthed solutions offer online training for BLS, Heartsaver First Aid, CPR and AED.